You Only Live Once

Here we are at “The Starting Line”. Life is a blank slate in front of us. We only get one shot at this thing called life, and if there is one thing this generation knows it is that we were raised to never waste a moment of it; to make the most out of every moment and follow our dreams.

YOLO. Extremely cliche but the question still remains, what will we do with our life? Our elders think that we expect too much out of life. That there is a work ethic epidemic. I disagree with that belief. What has happened is that the incentives which motivate a work ethic in younger generations has changed very rapidly in the past decade and at a pace with which many corporations and managers have failed to keep up. The world is more connected than ever, and is exponentially connecting even quicker. This is the first generation to know the existence of, to use, and to understand the repercussions of the Internet. It has always existed in our lives. Where to older generations it is simply another new thing that has come along. However, we are digital natives to this new world of technology. This means we see opportunities and have access to knowledge that our elders only dreamed of having at our age. To think that extreme alteration in mentality won’t have repercussions in the structure and organization of a workplace is naive and what those elders fail to realize is that an entire generation now has this new mentality. And yet, another sub generation still in high school has that mentality even stronger than those coming out of university. YOLO… Yes, this is a fad attributed to a rap song by Drake and true its use in pop culture has diminished its value, but it still has meaning. It’s a reminder to all people of their own mortality and it is a signal to all who are listening that we as a society are beginning to see a shift in paradigms.

In the past, older generations were paid and rewarded with the currency of money. But the future generation doesn’t see money having that same value to them. It’s value is not absent entirely, just very diminished. Younger generations prefer compensation in the form of life experience and personal time. They know “You Only Live Once”. This isn’t to say that the younger generations don’t have the will to work like their elders believe. It just means they don’t have the will to work for things they don’t believe strongly in and that won’t immediately contribute significant experience back into their lives. Time is the new commodity to be traded. In corporations of the future, flexibility could become the main corporate benefit. There is already a growing trend in the availability of flexibility to employees. More and more companies are adopting new technology which gives their employees the ability to work from home, push papers as they attend their relatives 4th of July BBQ, or send an email before they jump from the top of a cliff while living their dream of base jumping.

The companies that fail to acknowledge this shift in paradigms will pass away with those older generations. Corporations that wish to stay alive and avoid extinction will have to be as nimble and agile as these new generations are. Generation Y (born 1980's), Generation Z (born 1990's), and Generation AO (born 2000's) will each be more plugged in than their predecessor and exponentially more plugged in than the older dinosaurs who will inhabit the executive positions within the corporations that hire them. The new exchange system where money is a second best for employees, compared to the ability to gain individual experience will become the norm over time; regardless of if elder generations like it or not. The truth is that there is a new breed about to make their ascent in the modern world. We understand technology in a way that no others have before. This will be our upper hand in the world. Those who fail to embrace the new societal norm will not truly attain greatness in the world. To borrow a word from @Jason,

“Those who fail to strive for greatness will be the rice pickers and the people who do understand the new laws will be the samurais”.

This is the Starting Line. I’ll ask you one more time. What do you plan to do with your life? I plan to get to the Finish Line. I hope to see you there…